What’s Good in Gainesville and Alachua County, October 1-7, 2020

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The Gators are back in the Swamp for their first home game of the season, kicking off an exciting weekend of What’s Good. The weather is perfect to get outside and be the first to explore the inaugural GNV Market at Heartwood, celebrate Oktoberfest in High Springs, get into the Halloween spirit at a live stage performance of “Dracula,” or pick through one-of-a-kind finds at The Florida Vintage Market.

This week, we honor the legacy of hometown hero and American musical icon, Tom Petty, on the anniversary of his passing, October 2. We look forward to celebrating his life and music later this month with the virtual Tom Petty Birthday Bash. 

For a special treat, enjoy spotting some of your favorite Gainesville places in this video by local musicians, with the release of a new song that captures the spirit of the day: “The New Normal.”

We are proud to live in this mindful, resourceful and resilient community, and to share with you all that we have to offer – What’s Good.

Wear your mask and stay at safe physical distances while you enjoy the most of each day. Please adhere to public safety guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Be safe and be well,– Your partners at Visit Gainesville, Alachua County 

The below information was accurate at the time of publishing. Due to the current fluctuating environment, please contact organizers directly to double-check details.

Safety First. Be Informed About COVID19

In Alachua County, certain types of businesses require masks. Masks or face coverings are also required when social distancing is not possible. For additional details on the requirement as well as any exemption information please read the latest Alachua County Emergency Order.

For additional Coronavirus (COVID-19) information, visit the Alachua County COVID19 Community Resource Portal, the Alachua County Facebook page, call the Coronavirus Information Line at 866-779-6121, visit the Florida Department of Health website, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Gators Football versus South Carolina

Cheer on the Orange & Blue as Gators Football Returns to the Swamp for the First Home Game of the Season
Saturday, October 3, | Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
157 Gale Lemerand Dr., Gainesville, FL 32611

The Florida Gators take on South Carolina for the first home game of the season. In order to promote a safer environment for student-athletes, staff, and fans, the University Athletic Association has announced and detailed several gameday safety protocols and strategies – all of which are accessible via this link – with the first and foremost being mandatory face coverings for everyone in attendance. Learn more about the changes to Gators Football home games here.

Find this year’s schedule and get tickets at Attend future home games virtually with your own custom Fan Cutouts in the stands, sign up and send in your photo here. 

If you’re looking for more things to do, include one of these events in your gameday weekend:
Virtual Kickoff Lunch with Gators Football Head Coach Dan Mullen Friday, October 2, 12 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. 

Virtual Gameday from the Swamp
Saturday, October 3, 6 a.m.

Cornhole and Tailgating at Celebration Pointe
Saturday, October 3, 10 a.m.

Watch the Game on the Big Screen at First Magnitude Brewing Company
Saturday, October 3, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

GNV Market at Heartwood

Find Community and Connection at Downtown Gainesville’s Newest Farmers Market Featuring 30+ Vendors, Live Music and More
Thursday, October 1, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. | Heartwood Soundstage
619 S Main St., Gainesville, FL 32601

Browse locally sourced produce, fresh cut flowers, freshly prepared foods and enjoy live music from the stage. Vendors include Cross Creek Honey, Dank Cakes, Fisher Farms, Frog Song Organics, Humble Woodfire, The Tempeh Shop, Wild Man Foods and many more. Find the list of vendors here.

View GNV Market at Heartwood’s introductory video.

GNV Market at Heartwood Co-organizer Dave Melosh, created a guest blog exclusive for Visit Gainesville, Alachua County. Get the deets on the beets, right here.

For more of the timely entertainment information you love, follow us on Instagram and Facebook for daily updates and re-shares of your inspiring photos. Tag us at #whatsgoodalachuacounty.

hom hotel promotion

Football Fans and Road Weary Travelers, Relax, Rejuvenate and Have Some Fun at Gainesville’s hōm hotel + suites at Celebration Pointe for 15% Off

Located directly off of I-75, hōm hotel + suites is close to great shopping, natural and cultural attractions and is just a short distance from the University of Florida. Whether you are in town for the game, visiting family and friends, or taking a break form your road trip, the property’s ideal location will help you make the most of your trip. Find eateries and luxury shopping at Celebration Pointe. Find the Florida Museum of Natural HistoryButterfly Rainforestthe Harn Museum of Art and UF Performing Arts in the UF Cultural Plaza.

Hōm hotel + suites guest rooms are curated to ensure visitors enjoy all the same amenities they do at home, plus a few extras. Hōm is pet friendly, with an outdoor pool, and a gourmet breakfast.

Get 15% off the best available rate when you book 7 days in advance, click here to book now. Be sure to scroll down to the book early and save promotion.

Oktoberfest at High Springs Brewing Company

Raise Your Glass and Celebrate Oktoberfest with Traditional Food and Drink in High Springs
Saturday, October 3, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. | High Springs Brewing Company
18562 NW 237th St., High Springs, FL 32643

Celebrate the world’s largest beer festival at the brewery in High Springs. The fun-filled day includes sausages, bratwurst, hot dogs, a special Oktoberfest beer and music. Your best Oktoberfest attire might just win a prize.

Looking over the president's shoulder

Get a Front Row Seat to History at the Powerful Stage Performance of Looking Over the President’s Shoulder
Thursday, October 1 – Saturday, October 3, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday, October 4, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. | Star Center Theatre
11 NE 23rd Ave., Gainesville, FL 32609

This solo show is a tour-de-force starring Wester Joseph and directed by Shamrock McShane. When Alonzo Fields accepted a job as a butler at the White House in 1931, his plan was to work there for the winter. That winter lasted 21 years. Famous guests through the years included Winston Churchill, Marian Anderson, Errol Flynn and the king and queen of England.

Dracula at high springs playhouse

Get Into the Halloween Spirit at the Opening Night of Dracula
Friday, October 2 through Sunday, October 25 | High Springs Playhouse
23416 W U.S. Hwy 27, High Springs, FL 32643

This stage adaptation of the Bram Stoker’s classic thriller, is set in the French Quarter of New Orleans at the beginning of the jazz age. Into this Creole and Cajun culture in the courtyard behind Dr. Seward’s home, Dracula begins attacking his victims. Clark has mixed in voodoo rituals, drumming, Spring Carnivale strangers in masks, even comic characters such as Aunt Quincy who likes to drink as much as she likes to eat chocolates. Tickets must be purchased prior to arrival.

florida vintage market

Enjoy an Outdoor Shopping Experience with Unique Finds at the Florida Vintage Market
Sunday, October 4, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. | Cypress & Grove Brewing Company
1001 NW 4th St., Gainesville, FL 32601

Find vintage garments, handmade goods, art, food and more. This family-friendly outdoor pop-up market is free and open to the public. Returning vendors include Ritual Tree Soy Candles, empanadas from Deli Fresh Blessing, jewelry from Michelle’s Uniques and more.

Cornhole boards

Aim to Win at the North Florida Cornhole Tournament
Thursday, October 1, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. | Celebration Pointe
4949 Celebration Pointe Ave., Gainesville, FL 32608

North Florida Cornhole hosts competitions on select Thursdays at the Celebration Pointe Promenade. Player signups begin at 6 p.m and bean bags fly at 7 p.m.

Tom Petty performing with guitar

Remembering Tom Petty

Friday, October 2 marks the anniversary of the passing of Gainesville’s Number One Son. Music fans from around the world pay tribute to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer by visiting his home town. Murals around town make great photo opportunities including the recently updated 34th Street Wall mural honoring Tom. Tom Petty Park, featuring signs with his likeness, is another popular destination.

To ensure the health and safety of participants and performers, the annual Tom Petty Birthday Bash, scheduled for October 20, 2020, has been moved to an online digital platform.

Learn more about this year’s Virtual Birthday Bash and about other fun ways to honor the memory of Gainesville’s belove Tom Petty.

Photo by Takahiro Kyono.

hollow oaks corn maze

Find Some Spooky Fun for All Ages in the Hollow Oaks Corn Maze
Friday, October 2, 5 p.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday, October 3, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Sunday, October 4, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Hollow Oaks Corn Maze
18005 NW 190th Ave., High Springs, FL 32643

The corn maze and hayride provides family-friendly fall fun and photo opportunities. Let the kids visit the Children’s Area for pumpkin bowling and other fun games. After dark, the maze becomes haunted for extra scares.

Peanut patch and corn maze

Bring the Family to the Peanut Patch for a Hayride, Corn Maze and Fall Fun
Friday, October 2, 5 p.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday, October 3, 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. | Peanut Patch and Corn Maze

8656 SW 75th St., Gainesville, FL 32608

Activities include a corn maze, barrel train, hayrides, bounce house and more. After dark, take a stroll through the maze and see if anything walks with you!

Sycamore Lane vintage flea market

Plan a Day Trip. Find Bargains and Unique Gifts at the Sycamore Lane Market
October 2 – 3, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. | Sycamore Lane Market
3824 SW 170th St., Archer, FL, 32618

The seasonal outdoor flea-market features dozens of vendors offering unique, affordable vintage goods from furniture and decor to arts and crafts. Enjoy the welcoming community atmosphere, great food and drinks and above all, amazing shopping.

drag racing cars. earn your license

Fulfill Your Need for Speed at Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School
Thursday, October 1 – Friday, October 2 | Gainesville Raceway
11211 N CR 225, Gainesville, FL 32609

Earn your competition license, improve your skills, check one off your Bucket List or upgrade your current license. And have fun doing it! You’ll learn so much more than how to drag race. No experience is necessary. Pre-registration is required.

Jazz night at the keys

Start the Week on an Upbeat with Live Music and Great Food at Jazz Night with Peter McCann
Monday, October 5, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. | The Keys Grill and Piano Bar
4860 Celebration Pointe Ave. #30, Gainesville, FL 32608

Each week, The Keys Grill and Piano Bar sets the stage for an ensemble of Gainesville’s best talent and a fresh play list to start your week off right with an evening of jazzy grooves, delicious bites, and tasty cocktails, with half price wine and Florida craft draughts for $4.

Max Major Remote Control

Take Part in a Virtual Mind Reading Experiment at Remote Control with Max Major (Sold Out)
Thursday, October 1 – Saturday, October 3 | Online Event with the Hippodrome Theatre

The Hippodrome is proud to offer this interactive virtual experience in partnership with In The Box Entertainment.

He controlled Heidi Klum’s mind on Zoom. Simon Cowell called him a “demon’”. He has performed astonishing feats on stages from Las Vegas to New York to London, and now he’s bringing his mind-bending illusions into your home. Mentalist Max Major showcases his shocking ability to get deep inside strangers’ heads, even from a distance, in Remote Control: A Virtual Mindreading Experiment. You’ll take part in this ground-breaking LIVE Show from the comfort of your own home, where Max will literally get inside your head through the screen.

songs from the heart

Royce Lovett and Austin Miller Give it to You Straight From the Heart
Friday, October 2, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. | Online Event with Heartwood Soundstage

Songs from the Heart is a live-streaming series brought to you by Heartwood Soundstage. Royce Lovett is an inspirational songwriter and emcee.  Austin Miller’s rambling rhythm and thoughtful guitar work is a refreshing take on traditional Americana.

Heartwood Soundstage is a state-of-the-art recording studio, video production facility, and intimate performance venue – built by musicians for music lovers and music makers. 

egret flying at paynes prairie

Find Out What’s Flying and Prepare to Go Birding with a Live “Bird Cast” from the Alachua Audubon Society
Thursday, October 1, 6:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. | Online Event with Alachua Audubon Society

Before adding bird-watching to your next adventure, take a little time to open your world to the species in our area. Did you know Palm Point Park on Newnans Lake is a great place to spot migrating Peregrine Falcons?

The weekly broadcast from the Alachua Audubon Society highlights local news and notes, observations and occurrences from birding experts. Fall migration is already off a start, find out about the latest developments and tune in on Facebook or Zoom.

Find out how to start birding here!

Find information about the top birding sites in Alachua County.

chris mcneil with guitar on a dirt road

Tune-In to Gainesville LIVE! for Country Music with Chris McNeil
Friday, October 2, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. | Online Event with Free Fridays Concert Series

Chris McNeil’s Florida-grown music includes originals and covers by Chris Stapleton, Brothers Osborne, Morgan Wallen, Brett Eldridge, Hank Williams Jr, Randy Travis, Luke Combs & more.

Gainesville LIVE! is brought to you by the City of Gainesville as a temporary way to share with the public the joy of the Free Fridays Concert Series. The series typically takes place from May to October when hundreds of visitors and locals head to the Bo Diddley Plaza in downtown Gainesville to listen and dance to a superb assembly of bands and talented musicians. It is the region’s longest running free outdoor live music series.

paddleboards on the santa fe river

Hit the Water and Make Your Own Outdoor Adventure with Freshwater Springs and Wildlife
Open Daily | Santa Fe Canoe Outpost21410 NW US Hwy. 441, High Springs, FL 32643

Cruise down the Santa Fe River in your stress-free time capsule… err, we mean in your canoe, kayak or stand up paddleboard. All three are available for rent from the Santa Fe Canoe Outpost. Go up river for a leisurely ride back or explore several freshwater springs located downriver. Reservations are required. See trip times and safety measures here.

Explore Additional Parks and Trails Bike, Hike or Just Change Your View – Explore Gainesville and Alachua County’s Bountiful Outdoor Open Spaces

Find the park that suits you best! Most of the parks and trails in Alachua County have reopened including – Alachua County Parks, Playgrounds and Preserves, city parks, Alachua Conservation Trust preserves and all Florida State Parks.

Find the list of Alachua County Parks and Preserves here.
Find our What’s Good Now list of additional open spaces to explore here.

When enjoying the outdoors, please strictly adhere to public health safety guidelines, keep 6 feet away from others, avoid large groups of people and follow all State and local ordinances. Note that due to the changing environment and regulations, open hours are subject to change and some facilities may not be available.

Arts & Theatre

Old-Time Radio Series Streaming Online from Actor’s Warehouse
Now Through Sunday, October 4

Writing for Sketch Comedy Virtual Class with the Hippodrome Theatre
Thursday, October 1, 5 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Private Performance of The Stronger at Black C Art Gallery

Now Through October 30

Music & Performance

savants of soul album release

Official Album Release Livestream from The Savants of Soul
Saturday, October 3, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Dub, Downtempo, Glitch Hop and More from Visionary FAM and Sublimited Sounds at Signal
Saturday, October 3, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Open Mic Night at Loosey’s
Thursday, October 1

Party in Your Living Room with Punk Rock from The World/Inferno Friendship Society, The Scutches, Lanny, and Attic Salt with Fest at Home
Thursday, October 1, 7 p.m.

Live Stand Up Comedy Night at Flaco’s
Thursday, October 1, 7:30 p.m. – 12 a.m.

Americana with Mr. Aullie at Lightnin’ Salvage
Friday, October 2, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Variety of Acoustic Favorites with Shawn Manley at High Springs Brewing Company
Friday, October 2, 7 p.m.

Rock, Country, Pop Covers with Faster than Flash at High Springs Brewing Company
Saturday, October 3, 7 p.m.

Alternative Metal with Purely Red, Eroding the Past, Amusia Live Stream Benefit + Beer Garden at High Dive
Saturday, October 3, 8 p.m.

Guitar Driven Rock with Johnson & Burns at One Love Café
Sunday, October 4, 11 a.m.

Music Monday at Ballyhoo Grill Gainesville
Monday, October 5, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

musicgnv presents sooza

High Energy Sooza Brass Band with Virtual Concert Series Presented by MusicGNV
Monday, October 5, 7 p.m.
Sooza Brass Band is a six-piece brass band from Gainesville, Florida. What started as a few college friends playing their favorite tunes together soon became the well-known horn line of Gainesville.

Rock and Folk, Jazz, Latin and World Music with Gosia & Ali at The Keys Grill and Piano Bar
Wednesday, October 7, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Keg of Laughs Comedy Hour at World of Beer
Wednesday, October 7, 8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Craft Breweries

cans of Among the Wildflowers form Swamp Head Brewery

Remember Tom Petty with the American Kolsch release from Swamp Head Brewery, Among the Wildflowers.
Originally released in 2018 as part of Gainesville’s Tom Petty weekend festivities, Among the Wildflowers is now available in cans for pick-up from the brewery. Click here to order online.

Brainaholics Trivia at First Magnitude Brewing Company
Tuesday, October 6, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Beer Bingo Tuesday at Big Top Brewing Company Gainesville
Tuesday, October 6, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

$6 Burger Wednesday at Big Top Brewing Company Gainesville
Wednesday, October 7, 12 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Trivia Night at Blackadder Brewing Company Gainesville
Wednesday, October 7, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Cornhole Tourney at High Springs Brewing Company
Wednesday, October 7, 6 p.m.

Wine Pops, Sangria and More at Island Grove Wine Company Tasting House

U-Picks & Farmer’s Markets

Cypress & Grove Farmer’s Market
Mondays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Union Street Farmer’s Market at Celebration Pointe
Wednesdays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Alachua County Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Haile Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Waldo Farmer’s Market
Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Bites & Brunch

Ravioli Making Cooking Class at The Fat Tuscan (sold out)
Friday, October 2, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Eat Drink and Be Merry with Los Hernandez at Joel’s Coffeehouse
Saturday, October 3, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Sunday Brunch at One Love Cafe with Acoustic Tunes by Shuri
Sunday, October 4, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Healthy Cooking with Fresh Herbs Cooking Class at The Fat Tuscan
Sunday, October 4, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Tacos, Tequila and Trivia at The Keys Grill and Piano Bar
Tuesday, October 6, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Dine at Local Restaurants and Enjoy New Outside Seating Options
Some restaurants are welcoming diners back into their dining rooms. You may also notice additional outdoor seating expanded onto sidewalks, into parking lots or into the street.
Did you know that our dining scene regularly makes national headlines? Find out why We Chomp with the best of them!

Find a searchable list of Alachua County restaurants here.


archer aiming at targets

Aim for the Bullseye at Funtastic Fridays
Friday, October 2, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. | Easton Newberry Archery Center
24880 NW 16 Ave., Newberry, FL 32669
Join the most fun you can have with a bow for open shooting and archery games including tic-tac-toe, battleship, bowling with bows and more. A free orientation is required and is offered at 5 p.m.

If you worked up an appetite after all that fun, you may wish to visit nearby restaurants like Arepas Milko, Villaggio Pizzeria, Woodyard Grill or nearby Tioga Town Center.

Gators Soccer vs Alabama (limited capacity)
Sunday, October 4, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Mountain Bike Rides with Goodbike
Thursday, September 24, 7 p.m., Medium Pace for the Intermediate/Advanced Rider
Monday, September 28, 7 p.m., Brisk Pace for the Advanced Rider

Parks & Trails

Record breaking Victoria Cruziana waterlilies at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Don’t Miss Record-Breaking Giant Waterlilies at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Open Fridays – Wednesdays
Giant Victoria Water Lilies grow over 6 feet in diameter and are only a summer phenomenon at the gardens. Plan your visit at

River & Springs

Tubing at the springs

Splash Into the Springs Near Gainesville

North Florida is home to over 1,000 freshwater springs and the largest collection of First Magnitude freshwater springs in the United States. The springs are a perfect way to get outside and explore the natural side of the state. Did you know the crystal clear water flows from underground at a refreshing 72 degrees Fahrenheit, or 22 degrees Celsius, all year round? Make sure to add a visit to the springs to your Gainesville and Alachua County itinerary.

Museums & Galleries

Pollinator Palooza Virtual Gardening Workshop with the Florida Museum of Natural History: Invasive Species
Monday, October 5, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

In, Of, From: Experiments in Sound at University Gallery
Now Through Friday, December 4

Matheson Museum Online Exhibit: Trailblazers 150 Years of Women in Alachua County

“A Sense of Place” Online Exhibit with Gainesville Fine Arts Association

Explore Florida’s History and Walk With Flying Butterflies at the Florida Museum
Open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Browse Galleries Featuring Over 600 Works at the Harn Museum of Art
Open Thursday- Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Spark Wonder at the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention
Fridays – Saturdays, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Save The Date

The Gainesville Orchestra Presents ADVENTURE! October 9

Blocktoberfest at Blackadder Brewing Company, October 16

Archer Vintage Market, October 17

Tom Petty Birthday Bash (Virtual), October 20

Adult Trick or Treating at Swamp Head Brewery, October 23

Table for Two Beer Dinner with First Magnitude Brewing Company, October 30

Dance Alive National Ballet Presents Ballet and Beyond, October 31

Sangria 5K with Island Grove Wine Company, November 14

For a complete list of events please visit

Thank you for your continued partnership! Please keep in communication with us by sharing your events, updates and news with our team by emailing

Your participation, communication, and sharing of events and programs is a key way for us to market our community to visitors and to enhance the engagement of residents in all of the incredible programs you create.

Put simply, the more you share with us, the more we have to promote. Please read the attached PDF document for additional ways in which your organization can participate.

Visit Gainesville, Alachua County | (352) 374-5260 | 33 North Main Street, Gainesville 32601 Never miss an event: Follow Visit Gainesville, Alachua County on social media.

This publication contains information about events, venues and activities in Alachua County, Florida. Reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the information is accurate. We are not responsible for errors or omissions in the information provided. For complete details, contact the host directly. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, we do not represent, warrant, undertake or guarantee that the information is correct, accurate, complete or non-misleading. We will not be liable to you in respect of any special, indirect or consequential loss or damage. If a section of this disclaimer is determined by any court or other competent authority to be unlawful and/or unenforceable, the other sections of this disclaimer continue in effect.  

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